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In the last few days, there have been reports of online scams exploiting the wildfires in California, USA. Unfortunately, scams taking advantage of situations like this is nothing new.
In the past, we've seen international news, sports events, and even holidays lead to phishing and fraudulent e-mails. In many cases, disasters and tragedies also bring about fake charity sites popping up on the Web, set up by opportunists looking to cash in on recovery efforts.
These types of schemes don't appear as though they will be slowing anytime soon. According to research recently released by Microsoft, in the first half of 2007, 31.6 million phishing scams were detected - a 150 percent increase over the previous six months.
We've said it before, but we'll say it again: to be on the safe side, you should always be skeptical of unsolicited e-mail. If you are interested in a charity, go to the legitimate website of the organization. The same goes for news - get yours directly from trusted sources, and never from links in unsolicited messages. You can also take a look at helpful articles on spotting e-mail scams, so you'll know what to be on the lookout for.